Friday, March 26, 2021

Joined The Club This Week...

...but not on purpose.

Would've declined if given the chance.

The news arrived late at night via telephone.

There's something ominous about a ringing phone then.

When it shattered what had been our peaceful night, I noted the time and felt a familiar sense of dread sweep over me.

Time is a strange concept.

We're trapped within it, powerless to alter its unceasing forward march.

An inexorable current, it sweeps us ever onward from second to minute to hour.

Days, weeks, months, years, decades race by until finally we arrive at the terminus and our inevitable end.

Since we're rebels at heart we war against it, a fruitless yet determined resistance.

Why, we wonder, can't we just stay here?

If I could, I'd draw a line in the sand, an uncrossable demarcation between "how it used to be" and "how it is now".

I'm not positive of the exact date.

A week, or possibly a month ago?

Before the evil slithered back in and encircled him for the final time.

Then that would be it:

My personal Ground Hog Day, or Ground Hog Life, perhaps.

I'd spend my days happily wandering around the good times we experienced, reliving those special moments with people I love...

...and as long as we didn't cross into no man's land, into the dreadful here and now, everything would be just fine.

Of course that's nothing but a pointless pipe dream and that damn phone is still ringing, and so finally I answer it.


In response, a tragedy in three words:

"Ryan is dead."

With that synoptic reply I became an unwilling part of the group no one wants to join:

Parents who bury a child.

I wish this was not so.

I wish my son was still here.

I wish I could hear his voice, hug him as he walks through my door at Thanksgiving, meet him for breakfast at Denny's, hear about how work is going for him, listen to his plans for the future.

But that's just me feeling sorry for myself.

He's better off now, and though it sounds trite to modern ears, he's in a better place.

I was with him when he was 8 years old, when he bowed his head and asked Jesus to be his Savior.

In Luke 18 the Lord told his disciples, "Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.

"Verily I say unto you, Whosever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein."

With child like faith Ryan put his trust in the Lord and so as Jesus promised, became a citizen of God's kingdom.

That was 32 years ago.

Today he's in heaven with the Lord.

His pain and struggles, temptations and trials have ended.

He has released the burdens of this life and embraced the glories of heaven.

He's happy.

He's free.

He's whole.

So I'm peaceful in my spirit because I know he's well, and now have something to await with happy anticipation:

That moment, yet future, when we'll embrace on heaven's gentle shore, when I'll feel the solid press of his muscles against my own, and tell him to his face I love him.

"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."

   - John 10:28

I'm weeping as I write this, but I won't then; not when we're together again.

I love you, Ryan.

Looking forward to our reunion.

Friday, March 19, 2021


...and it feels so good...but to be accurate I should drop the "Re".

This is actually the first time I've laid eyes on our beautiful 1956 Philco V-handle refrigerator.

I bought it on ebay in June of last year then had it shipped directly to The Retro Revival so Mandy and Co. could work on it.

This is what it looked like when Mandy got it:

Nine months of restorative labor have given (re)birth to this glorious vintage appliance.

And it arrived on St. Patrick's Day no less...

In case you've forgotten, here's the big yank about these refrigerators:

You can open them...

...from either side.

How cool is that?

It's part of what makes them the "holy grail" of vintage mid century modern refrigerators.

Mandy and company did an outstanding job of restoring this one to "like new" condition...couldn't be happier with their work.

Karen says the sparkle and shine makes it look like a piece of jewelry.

Reminds me of a classic vintage car with all the chrome trim and the V handle as the hood ornament.

But that's how it was back in the day. 

There was a greater appreciation of both form and function, the melding of the pretty and the practical, than there is today.

Like Detroit used to do...

1956 Ford T-bird

...before it lost its mojo and was reduced to churning out monotonous variations of the egg car..., too, other manufacturers valued both craftsmanship and style back then.

You saw it in radios...

1930's Colonial Globe Radio


Philco Predicta Barberpole

Noguchi Sofa

...and houses...

Eichler Ranch well as kitchen appliances like refrigerators.

They weren't just big rectangles that kept food cold; they were designed for eye appeal, a quality piece of furniture that graced your kitchen.

Contrast that with the massive Giganta-fridge that was here when we bought this home:

If big, bland and industrial is your style, have we got the fridge for  you.

It definitely did the job, but it’s not our taste; so we emptied Big Bertha, unplugged her, removed the water line and slowly, laboriously muscled her out of the room.

(She's too big to fit through any of our doorways, so we still have to remove all three doors to get her outside.)

After that ordeal, sliding Phil into his rightful place as King of the Mid Century Modern Kitchen....

...was a piece of cake.

We then stocked him with food and drink taken from the Giganta-fridge...

...and Voila!

I won't show you the pics of all the food that wouldn't fit, but as Karen noted, it's not just a vintage refrigerator, it's a lifestyle commitment.

We observe that all those folks in the 50's and 60's managed to survive and thrive with their smaller capacity refrigerators...

...pretty sure we can, too.

Have you seen the official mascot for the month of March?

That just about sums it up.

March has pretty much cornered the market on dark and dreary.

For example, did you know on this day in 1345 - according to the academic elite at the University of Paris - the Black Death was created?

Quoting those learned scholars, it was "...a triple conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius" that done did the dirty deed.

And what a dirty deed ’twas done, as "The Plague" swept across the Middle East and Eurasia killing 25 million people - a third of the population - by the end of the century.

But take's not all bad news in March.

Here in 2021, we've finally crawled, staggered and stumbled our way to The Big Day...

Welcome, Spring!

And as is our annual custom, we celebrate the change of seasons with the traditional Danse Du Printemps!

To be honest, I've forgotten exactly why we do this every year, but who am I to buck tradition?

So grab your partner dosey doe...

It is with great sorrow I adduce we have once again raced to the terminus of another thrillin' edition of the Atomic Monster Cafe.

I want to be here...

We trust you found your abbreviated journey both stimulating and rewarding on several levels.

If not, don't blame us.

We're about as deeply rewarding and uber stimulating as you can legally be.

If we tried to cram any more of either category into this blog we'd have to apply for a special use permit.

But don't take our word for can look it up HERE.

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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Friday, March 12, 2021

In The "Back From The Brink" Department...

...the man on the left is #1 week after heart surgery.  (that's one of his sons on the right.)

Two weeks ago he went to the doctor complaining of shortness of breath.

A week later he endured an 8 hour surgery to repair a damaged heart valve along with a "cardiac ablation" to restore normal heart rhythm.

Today he was given the "all clear" and released from the hospital.

We are praising God and giving thanks for the talented surgeon, nurses and medical staff that saved his life.

In a previous era we would have been arranging a funeral and mourning the loss of a young man cut down in the prime of life.

Instead we're rejoicing at his recovery and a return to full health with the hope of many productive, happy years ahead.

These are amazing times in which we live.

You've heard the stories surrounding St. Patrick...well here's what REALLY happened...'s as good an explanation as any I suppose.

In just a few days we'll have burned through a couple of the events for which March is tolerated...the time change (this weekend)...

...and the aforementioned St. Patrick’s Day (Wednesday).

By next weekend we'll have finally arrived at Spring...

The wait's almost over...

And speaking of Spring... ain't pretty, but there's no snow left!

At least it's making an effort...

...and doing a fine job.

Unfortunately, it's anything but Spring time when it comes to writing...

Still wandering in the desert searching for motivation, and it's been long enough now that I consider it a full blown creative drought.

There's a pithy saying that opines "writers write", implying if you're a bona fide writer you spend your days putting (digital) pen to (virtual) paper, no matter what.

And there's some truth there.   Discipline is an important part of producing meaningful product.

If we went to work only on those days when we felt like it, most of us would be unemployed.

monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday...

However, I realized long ago I do not have a mighty river of creativity raging inside of me, threatening to overflow the banks of my being if I do not furiously write from sunup to sundown, 7 days a week.

Sadly, it's more like a bubbling spring of creativity that seeks expression via the written word from time to time.

It ebbs and flows with the seasons of life, very much influenced by what's happening around and to me.

Considering the events of the last six months, both national and personal, there's no mystery here.  I fully understand the reasons for my current dearth of creativity.

And while I haven't found the silver bullet yet, I know part of the cure for what ails me will simply be the passage of time.

So while I'm in a holding pattern...

...I've been re-reading - and in a few cases partially rewriting - some of my prior work.

This is somewhat akin to rearranging my sock drawer...

um...too neat...definitely not mine

...but it's actually been fairly productive.  I've found and fixed a number of typos and improved a couple of stories, one significantly (imho).

But yeah...still waiting for that creative surge to really jump start my writing again.

Stuck in the rinse cycle for now.

While I'm waiting for inspiration to strike, I have been able to get outside and swing my hickories...

...but only in my backyard, and only using whiffle golf balls.

Still, I'm shaking off the rust and feeling pretty good about it overall.

We're a month away from actually hitting the links, but it's finally within reach.

Might even see if I can get a rematch with my old nemesis...

Due to extenuating circumstances...

...there is no parting shots section this week...just this one sighting of a Sasquatch...

...well, at least the shadow of a Sasquatch.

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on!

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